Legal Guidelines for Selling Sex Toys: What You Need to Know

- 6 mins read

Since the last decade, the market for sex toys has experienced explosive growth. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to find sex toy businesses and adult toy manufacturers who have started creating and selling sex toys online. 

As per the latest report by Grand View Research, the sex toys market across the globe was estimated to be worth $32.7 billion in the year 2022. 

The report also reveals that the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.50% from 2023 to 2030 and is expected to reach a valuation of USD 62.3 billion by the end of 2030.

With such a profitable industry on hand, you may be considering the prospect of starting your own sex toy business either online or in a physical location. However, you may find yourself wondering whether it is illegal to sell sex toys in general. 

To alleviate your concerns, we have compiled a wealth of information on the topic and will provide a comprehensive overview in this article. So, read on to gain clarity on the legality of selling sex toys.

Is It Illegal To Sell Sex Toys?

When it comes to the sale of sex toys, laws and regulations can vary greatly depending on the country, state or region in question. While selling sex toys is generally legal, there can be exceptions and specific regulations in place, especially when it comes to the sale of adult products.

For instance, let’s assume you’re planning to run a successful sex toy business in the United States. You can sell your sex toys legally in almost all of the states, but there are a few exceptions, like the state of Alabama.

In 1998, the Alabama Anti-Obscenity Enforcement Act was passed, which prohibits the sale of sex toys within the state. If you are aware of this law and still choose to produce and sell sex toys, you may face severe consequences, including a Class C felony charge. 

Even if you only engage in the wholesale of sex toys, you may face either imprisonment or a fine. Similarly, if you are just involved in the distribution of sex toys, such as through dropshipping sex toys, you may also be subject to a hefty fine of up to $50,000.

Likewise, there are several countries that also make it illegal to sell sex toys, including:

  • Maldives
  • Cuba
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Vietnam
  • United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Malaysia
  • Thailand
  • South Korea

So, it’s crucial to research and understand the laws in your specific area, as some locations may have age restrictions or licensing requirements for selling sex toy products. Moreover, certain types of adult toys may be subject to further restrictions or even outright bans.

If you’re considering selling trending sex toys, it’s highly advisable to consult with local authorities or seek legal advice to ensure full compliance with all relevant regulations. 

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the legal status of sex toy sales can change, making it essential to stay informed of any updates or changes in the law. By doing so, you can ensure that your sales are safe, fair and legal.

Do Sex Toys Require a License To Be Sold?

The regulations for selling sex toys can differ depending on the location. Certain countries do not have any particular licensing requirements in place, though others may mandate a special license to be obtained before sex toys can be sold. 

In addition, there may be specific regulations governing the labeling, advertising, and sale of sex toys.

For example, in the United States, there is no federal law regulating the sale of sex toys. However, some states and localities have their own regulations. For example, in New York City, retailers must obtain a special license to sell sex toys.

In the United Kingdom, there is no specific licensing requirement for selling sex toys. However, retailers must comply with the Obscene Publications Act 1959, which prohibits the sale of obscene materials.

As of now, there is no federal law in Canada that specifically regulates the sale of sex toys. Despite this, some provinces have their own set of regulations that must be followed. 

One such example is Ontario, where retailers are required to adhere to the Retail Sales Tax Act. This act prohibits the sale of sex toys to individuals who are under the age of 18.

Similarly, sex toys are not regulated by federal law in Australia. However, some states have their own regulations. For example, in New South Wales, retailers must comply with the Food Standards Code (FSANZ), which prohibits the sale of sex toys that contain substances that are harmful to human health.

In general, it is advisable to check with the local authorities to determine the specific licensing requirements for selling sex toys in your jurisdiction.

Is It Possible To Sell Sex Toys on Amazon and eBay?

You might be wondering, “If it is illegal to sell sex toys in certain countries, then why do online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay allow adult toy businesses to sell them?” 

While it is true that these platforms do permit the sale of sex toys, there are certain regulations and limitations that sex toy businesses must adhere to when listing and selling these products.

On Amazon, in order to sell sex toys, you must be approved to sell in the “Adult” category. This requires that you have an established seller’s account and a good track record. 

Once you are approved, you can list your sex toys for sale, but you must follow Amazon’s guidelines for adult products. These guidelines include:

  • Product images: Images must be clear and show the product accurately. They must not be sexually suggestive or exploit, abuse, or endanger children.
  • Product descriptions: Descriptions must be accurate and non-sexual. They must not include sexually suggestive language or exploit, abuse, or endanger children.
  • Product titles: Titles must be accurate and non-sexual. They must not include sexually suggestive language or exploit, abuse, or endanger children.

On eBay, you can sell sex toys as long as you follow eBay’s prohibited items policy. This policy prohibits the sale of certain types of adult products, including:

  • Sexually explicit material: This includes items that depict or describe sexual acts or nudity.
  • Items that could be used to exploit or endanger children: This includes items that depict or describe child pornography or child abuse.

If you violate Amazon’s or eBay’s policies, your listings may be removed, and your account may be suspended or terminated.

Is It Legal to Sell Used Sex Toys?

The legality of selling used sex toys varies from place to place. In some jurisdictions, it is perfectly legal, while in others, it is prohibited or restricted.

In the United States, the legality of selling used sex toys is generally governed by state laws. Some states have no laws on the matter, while others have laws that prohibit or restrict the sale of used sex toys. For example, in California, it is illegal to sell used sex toys that are not properly sanitized.

In other countries, the legality of selling used sex toys may be governed by national laws. For example, in the United Kingdom, it is illegal to sell used sex toys that are not marked with a warning label.

What are the Legal Restrictions for Online Sex Toy Sales?

The sale of sex toys is subject to various regulations and restrictions that vary by country and region. Digital platforms, such as e-commerce websites, may also have their own policies regarding the sale of adult products. 

Here are some general points to consider:

  • International Variances: Laws regarding the sale and distribution of sex toys differ significantly from one country to another. Some countries have strict regulations, while others have more lenient or no specific laws on the matter.
  • Local Laws: In some places, certain types of sex toys may be prohibited, and their sale may be subject to legal restrictions. For example, some regions may ban the sale of products considered obscene or offensive.
  • Content Policies: Digital platforms often have content policies that govern the types of products that can be sold on their platforms. Some platforms may have restrictions on the sale of adult or explicit content, including sex toys.
  • Age Restrictions: Platforms may have age restrictions for the purchase of adult products. Customers may need to verify their age before making a purchase.
  • Payment Restrictions: Some payment processors may have restrictions on processing transactions related to adult products. This can affect the ability of online retailers to sell sex toys and may impact the types of payment methods accepted.
  • Ad Policies: Online advertising platforms may have specific policies regarding the promotion of adult products. Advertisements for sex toys may be subject to restrictions or limitations.
  • Customer Privacy: Purchasing sex toys can be a sensitive matter, and customers may be concerned about their privacy. Online retailers should have robust privacy policies and secure payment systems to protect customer information.
  • Product Descriptions: Digital platforms selling sex toys may need to be mindful of how they present and describe their products to comply with platform policies and legal regulations. Clear and accurate product information is essential.

It’s important for sex toy businesses operating to be aware of and comply with the relevant laws and regulations in their target markets. Additionally, they should familiarize themselves with the policies of the digital platforms they use for sales and marketing. 

Final Words

Selling sex toys can be an extremely lucrative business if things are done right. Before you dive into this business, make sure to check all the rules and regulations in your region, state and country.

You can also hire a lawyer to do the research, However, it is important to provide the lawyer with detailed information about your business, such as the types of toys you plan to sell, your business model, whether you will have an online or physical store, your advertising and sales strategies, and any other relevant information. 

This will help the lawyer gain a clear understanding of your business and identify any potential risks that you may face.

We hope this article helps you understand whether it is illegal to sell sex toys, and if you have any more queries, mention them in the comments. We are happy to help!

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